What’s old is new again. And what used to be a tasking exercise in patience has become the unexpected stress reliever. Believe it or not — I’m talking about shopping for groceries — which I find myself indulging in more times than necessary.
It began as a way of flexing my independence — which has become a necessity due to my current living arrangement. I left Los Angeles late last year and moved back to the east coast — and into the embrace of my parents where I’ve been hiding out until the word spreads.
I’m not complaining about the lack of privacy and the major adjustments to my love life or lack thereof — but there are moments when I yearn for the lounging sessions on the plush sofa — in the studio I was subletting not too long ago. But then — that would require the visualization of the bottles of wine that kept me company.
So — back to the present and the sober version that jumps at any opportunity to take that breezy walk to the building that houses the stuff we really need as well as the lot that could be useful.
Once I enter the superstore — the nice chill from the veggie section entices me to walk over — whether I need to or not. I always end up choosing a bag of seedless grapes — even though the one at home is barely half done. At the rate I devour them — it just makes sense to go for it. Plus — I love deciding which collection to choose out of the options that all look the same at a glance — but then you have to keep looking…
The joy of this activity comes from the ease of taking my sweet time. This is the period when random thoughts come through — and as I try to decide which pack of string cheese will taste the best despite the low calories — I suddenly think about the character in my world of make believe — who has a condition that convinces her that she’s dying every time she has a belly ache.
Which brand would she choose and why?
As I make my way past the bakery — I quickly survey the scene before deciding that my loyalty still lies with the other hot spot a few blocks away.
The aisles hit me all at once as I glide by the ones that don’t matter with measured steps as I push the small cart with purpose. Yes, it feels good to have the privilege of so many options that aren’t intimidating. I can pick up anything I want — but this assignment requires the ability not to get carried away.
The temperature is always pleasant — which is another major draw. Oops! I forgot about the wheat pancakes. As I maneuver the cart back to where I need to be — I knock off some potato chips and quickly pick them up. They’re the kind that I would’ve gone for back when my weed habit made it impossible for me to keep my brushed teeth free from debris — after calling it a night.
But instead I was searching for a better alternative and once I found it — I made a sharp turn to the lane that would take me to the last stop.
Nobody tells you how complicated buying chicken breasts can be until you’re faced with that exact challenge. The different brands claim to be healthier, meatier versions — but then the pricing is what throws you off. Why does the one that costs $9.12 seem bigger than the one that has a $10.09 sticker. Am I imagining it or perhaps weirdly spending way too much time on something so basic.
I say “fuck it” out loud and go for the one that’s more expensive. Maybe it’ll taste better.
My favorite part happens almost immediately as the lanes for self-checkout are practically empty and all I have to do is pick which one to use. I choose the one in the middle for reasons that don’t exist. I take my time swiping and entering the codes of items that also need to be weighed. This part of my excursion is somewhat fulfilling — and when I’m done and begin the bagging process — my phone starts ringing.
I try to get it out of my pocket — but it’s so snug that I have a hard time retrieving it — when I do — I see it’s a missed call from mom and dad. Then the text comes in — and it looks like I will be here a little longer than expected.
We need at least 20 plum tomatoes. Mom needs to make stew.
And I have more work to do.